Secondary defenders will be called for fouls
The season has just started and already a new rule designed to clarify some of the foul calls has some coaches concerned.
The rule, approved by the NCAA in June, requires secondary defenders to establish position outside of the area directly below the rim to draw a charging call. Essentially, if a player is standing in an imaginary circle beneath the rim and makes contact with a shooter, it's an automatic blocking foul - no matter if the player has position or not.
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North Carolina coach Roy Williams likes the idea and hopes it will curb some of the violent collisions under the basket that can lead to injuries. He said his concern is there's nothing to define the area beneath the rim, forcing officials to make judgment calls on where the player was standing.
"The decision to make the imaginary circle underneath the rim, I think that was not the best decision," Williams said Tuesday during a conference call with NCAA officials. "I think our officials are really going to have a difficult time with that. I would have been in favor of putting down a dotted line, if that's what we're going to do."
The rule was put in to stop players from sliding under shooters as they came down after taking a shot. The NBA instituted a similar rule a few years ago, putting a dotted line on the floor to clearly define whether a defender was under the basket.
The NCAA won't have that, leaving it up to the officials to determine if the defender was in the 18-by-24-inch area while still trying to keep track of everything else that's going on.
"Playing underneath the basket just to draw a foul as a guy's coming down is not a good play and I understand the reason for it, but I'd like to give the officials a little help and put the dotted line in there like the NBA," said Williams, whose team opened defense of last year's national championship Monday night with a 88-72 win over Florida International.
Several other new rules or points of emphasis were put into place to take away some of the rough play that's become common in college basketball.
Officials will pay closer attention to 3-second calls to eliminate some of the wrestling matches underneath the basket, and have been instructed to call fouls if a player's balance, rhythm, speed or quickness is impeded, not just if it provides an advantage.
Officials also will be allowed to use replay to determine flagrant fouls. Even if a foul isn't considered flagrant, they're being encouraged to call intentional or technical fouls instead of downgrading to a regular foul.
Those rules Williams had no problem with. He agreed the game is getting too physical and something needs to be done.
"For me and some of my coaching friends, we all the same opinion, we are concerned with the aggressiveness and the rough play, the physicalness of the game," Williams said. "We don't want it to take away the openness the game of basketball, the smoothness and the finesse game that it should be, so there's no question that's my biggest concern."